GasFields Commission Commences Review of RPI Act

The GasFields Commission Queensland (the Commission) has commenced a targeted consultation process as part of their review of the Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 (RPI Act) assessment processes.

The review comes as a direct result of the Queensland Audit Office’s (QAO) performance audit report (“Managing coal seam gas activities Report 12: 2019–20”), in which the QAO recommended the Commission “reviews the assessment process identified under the RPI Act to determine whether the process adequately manages Coal Seam Gas (CSG) activities in areas of regional interest”.

The review will focus on the effectiveness of the RPI Act to manage coexistence between CSG activities on areas of high value agricultural land. The review entails:

  • the assessment process and assessment criteria used to manage the impacts of CSG activities in Priority Agricultural Areas and Strategic Cropping Areas;
  • the effectiveness of the implementation of the assessment framework;
  • the definitions and classification of agricultural land in Queensland; and
  • the exemptions to the assessment process.

The Commission’s Acting CEO Warwick Squire commented, “as a result of our early engagement with key stakeholder and landholders, the Commission has confirmed the QAO’s findings that there is broad support for this review amongst Queensland’s regional communities. The Commission welcomes this opportunity to undertake a detailed review of this aspect of the regulatory framework aimed at managing and improving the sustainable coexistence between landholders and Queensland’s onshore gas industry.”

The review will be informed via a targeted consultation process involving directly affected stakeholders including landholders, agriculture and resource sector representative bodies, regional natural resource management bodies, local government and the Queensland Government.

The consultation process has now commenced with the release of the ‘Review of the Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 Consultation Paper’ to key peak and representative bodies. The Commission will be seeking formal submissions from these groups over the next four weeks. Individuals wishing to find out more about the consultation process are encouraged to contact their relevant peak body for more information.

It should be noted this review is being conducted in accordance with the Commission’s statutory review and advisory functions under sections 7(b) and 7(e) of the Gasfields Commission Act 2013, which relate to the Commission’s role in reviewing the effectiveness of implementing regulatory frameworks and making recommendations to relevant State Government Ministers.

Cover page of the GasFields Commission's review of the Regional Planning Interests Act consultation paper

The GasFields Commission’s purpose is to manage and improve the sustainable coexistence of landholders, regional communities, and the onshore gas industry in Queensland.

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